One of the ponds on Turkey Mountain late in the afternoon. We have had a good amount of rain on the mountain this spring so many of the ponds are full of water. For some reason, the ponds are called lakes. I’m okay with that. The sky is a little vague in this photo but I like the light on vegetation in the foreground and I like the reflection of the sun also. So I’m going with it and hope you don’t mind.
One day after work when I was on the east bank of the Arkansas River looking across trying to figure out whether to run on Turkey Mountain or not which is the hill to the right. I decided to go ahead and stayed dry for the most part. I really look forward to my Wednesday night runs on the mountain or the river and rarely cancel them. I always feel like a kid when school has let out especially when the weather is decent. I hardly ever see anybody else especially when I’m more than a quarter mile from the parking lot.
I’m linking with Skywatch Friday
On Saturdays I drop the kid off for his Comedy Improv workshop. I have about an hour and a half to do something before I pick him up. Sometimes I go the Philbrook Museum or if I hurry I can get over to the Fairgrounds for the boat show or something. Last Saturday the weather was beautiful and I thought I would go for a run.
My favorite place for a run is Turkey Mountain but there is not much parking so I decided to park on Riverside Drive and run across the Arkansas River bridge to Turkey Mountain and then run back. It would give me a taste of both trail running and pavement running with no parking hassles.
The wind was a gale coming from the south and running across the east west bridge was quite fun. I had to hold my hat to keep it from blowing into the river. I’m cheap you see. I like to wear stuff until it wears out. When I give stuff to Goodwill, there is not a whole lot of use left in it. They say they can use the fiber so give’em what they got. That is all they get from is fiber, with holes in it.
Across the river, up a little embankment and then into a not so secret entry point into the Turkey Mountain trails system. There are all sorts of little ins and outs to the trails at Turkey. I have been running the trails for years and am still learning things.
And then on to the Red Trail. The Red Trail is a short trail that enters and exits the lower parking lot.
And then I took a branch of the Red Trail that went along a chain link fence.
And then got to the main paved trail where these folks were “Out standing in their field” so to speak. I am glad for their sake that it was a little cool for ticks.
And then up the steep hill to the lower parking lot. It sounds kind of funny as I write this, “going up a steep hill to the lower parking lot.” Well you should see the climb to the upper parking lot!
And then re-enter the red trail down this way.
And then back on the approach to the bridge across the river. Right behind a bunch of cyclists.
They sure left me in the dust!! And then back across the river to the car.
Mission Accomplished!! Finished in less than an hour. Had plenty of time to gas up the car and grab lunch for Logan and I at Braums. We needed to get home cuz we had an appointment with ATT concerning Logan’s lost cell phone. But that is another story!!
I’m linking with Outdoor Wednesday
Saturday morning I dropped the kid off at his Improv class and I drove to Turkey Mountain and hobbled around a bit. I say hobbled because for about a month now running has been very painful and I can’t hardly go up or down stairs. That is frustrating because I generally take stairs when I can and always walk up and down escalators. Now, walking up is painful but doable, walking down is out of the question. Things are getting better but not quick enough to suit me. I know patience is required so I am walking a lot and doing the elliptical machine thing. On Wednesday nights I run very short distances in between long walking interludes. So anyway back to Turkey Mountain. I have found almost all the non-micro sized geocaches there so I went for a couple I hadn’t found yet. The first one was close to a homeless camp that now looks abandoned. (It sure is a mess!!!!) This cache was easy to find. See up in the tree?
I read the description and guess what, climbing apparatus is required. While I am not doing it at all climbing gear or not. Unfortunately I can’t log it unless I sign the log inside. No partial credit allowed. Oh well. I was glad to find it. The next time we have a clean up on Turkey Mountain we’ll need to clean up the dude’s camp. Plus there is another one, that may be occupied, about a hundred yards north. It needs to go as well.
The next cache I found, or didn’t find, was also up in a tree. And this one, maybe, just maybe? But no, it is on a steep slope and remote and if I slipped or fell I would be in a world of hurt especially by myself. I could get this one with a ladder. I have a light portable ladder that I have packed into woods to retrieve caches safely and this might be one of them. Later.
I wandered around some more and found this. It is a bicycle jump across a ravine. I love the “Caution Gap” signs. They are probably needed because as you can see if you are on this side and tearing down the hill on your bicycle you are not going to see that it is not a bridge it is a jump. How does one do this for the first time? I guess you start out by not being as chicken as I am. You can also see that the structure has more problems than the gap. The first few boards are missing. See that bypass off to the right with the small bridge. That is more my speed.
I have yet to take my bicycle to Turkey Mountain. I have seen some bicyclists do incredible things. Like bend their wheels out of round or their frames and they have to carry their bikes two miles to the parking lot. I have also seen other guys go up and down hillsides that I thought were pretty much vertical. One day I saw a couple of mountain unicyclers tearing down the hill on the knobby tired unicycles. They are long poles they were using like skiers use ski poles but still, it was amazing.
Anyway, I had a great walk out in the woods on a beautiful chilly breezy, sunny January day. So, mission accomplished.
Saturday morning started out cool with a chance of rain. I thought about putting up the outside Christmas lights on house but I don’t like doing that in the rain. I don’t mind running in a light rain though. I have the gear for it. So after dropping the kid off at his Improv Comedy class I headed to Turkey Mountain. There was hardly anyone there.
It was kind of a dreary gray day, just the way I like them, and so off I went with a vague desire to do about five miles plus or minus and take some new trails. The big well used trails are fine but I love the fainter seldom used ones also. As you can see there were lots of dry leaves on the ground. The squirrels were having a field day running around in them making a racket.
I take it as a point of honor to never (well almost never) turning back on a trail because it disappears or requires climbing up or down a cliff. This trail ended up requiring it. It is at the far north end of Turkey Mountain and I had to climb down a steep hill and then climb back up out on the other side of the draw. Oh well. Slows me down but I’m not in it for the speed.
I saw only one bicyclist and very few other people the whole time I was out there.
I guess that somebody lost their camo hat and some other person picked it up and stuck it on a tree. I always wonder who besides a hunter needs camo gear. When I’m out in the woods, I want to be seen.
Being out in the woods in nature is a great escape. Maybe I’ll do the lights on Sunday. The Cowboys aren’t playing you know.
I’m linking with Our World Tuesday.
Sunday morning, TATUR (“Tulsa Area Trail and Ultra Runners”) held their “Turkey N Taturs” races,10K, 25K, and 50K all on Turkey Mountain. I ran the 10K which for this crowd is like a fun run.
The start was cool, sunny, and dry, perfect for running.
The course was a good mixture of flat and level, hills, rocks, and roots. It had a great rhythm to it. Being Sunday morning there were not too many other people out on the mountain.
I ran about half the race by myself and the last half with a friend who had about the same pace as I did. Running with somebody makes the race a lot easier. I tend to go faster when I’m with somebody.
One of the great things about trail races is the aid stations. I had a shot of some sort of liquor at this one. I’m not sure if that was a good idea or not. It kind of stuck with me for a while.
As you can see the course wound all over the mountain. The 25K and 50K guys looped over the east side to get their distances in. The 50K was two laps of the 25K route.
And a good time was had by all. Last I checked I finished dead last out of 32 men who had finished by then. But hey, I beat everybody who slept in that day right?
A big thank you to fine folks at TATUR and the many volunteers that it takes to put on an event like this and to my fellow racers.
This is a cell phone photo from the lower yellow trail on Turkey Mountain looking roughly northeast across the Arkansas River across south Tulsa. I’ve learned over the years that sometimes the best view at sunset is not towards the sun. I love how the river is reflecting some of the pink in the sky.
Summer is rapidly coming to a close. The temperatures are a bit lower, the humidity is much less, and the mornings are very nice. Autumn is my favorite season in Tulsa.
I’m linking with Skywatch Friday
We were trying to figure out what to do Sunday when Logan announced that he would like to go hiking on Turkey Mountain. It only took a few microseconds for the words to hit my ear and my response didn’t even go to my brain “Lets go!” I said.
It was a change for Logan. He has a couple of other big changes coming up. For one he is starting college today at a local community college. He is starting part time. So we are not photographing decorated dorm rooms and new room mates and all that. We are starting kind of slow to see how it goes and get him used to it and he’ll live at home.
Not everybody of course goes “off” to college. I graduated from high school in Albuquerque and went to the University of New Mexico and stayed at home. Suited me!! I went off to the Permian Basin of west Texas to work as a roustabout in the oilfields during the summer. I loved the work but I loved getting home also. I think Logan is a home body also. Eventually he want to get a job and get a place of his own. Hopefully not too far away.
The other change for Logan is that he is starting a work skills class at Goodwill Inc sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitative Services (“DRS”). Its going to be several hours a day and they are going to learn about all the various things a person has to know in order to have a job. We have been very impressed with both Goodwill and DRS. They are very nice people and we think this will be great for Logan. It will be in a small group type environment and they will all learn together.
Anyways say a small prayer if you would for our son as he starts this new things in his life. He is very nervous about it.
“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go…”
And now, the not wordless part
Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain is not that big, two miles north to south and a mile, maybe, east to west. You can generally hear traffic in most areas but there are lots of trails and if the weather is a little hot, or a little cold, or a little wet or whatever the number of people on the trails plunges, especially a quarter mile down the trail (I am not exagerating..) And if one gets to the little visited areas like the northwest segment it is easy not to see anybody.
I was on such a blissful trek last Wednesday when I happened on this vista that made it look like the mountain went on forever. I love the feeling of feeling lost and depth in the photo. Even though I know I had been up and down that trail many times before.
I love Turkey Mountain, I have been there dozens of times and still find something new every time I am there. I can get up there and just cruise along and don’t worry about a thing. Except snakes, lots of people have encountered lots of snakes, especially copperheads, and I worry about them a little but I don’t let them stop me.
So what about you? Where is your favorite place to get away from it all.
Exciting news to many of us here in Oklahoma. The National Park Service announced the designation of Turkey Mountain’s Red, Blue, and Yellow trails (about 7 miles total) as part of the National Recreation Trails and will be added to the National Trails System. The announcement comes just in time for National Trails Day.
No, this doesn’t mean that the Feds are coming in to take over the trails, the designation recognizes existing trails built and maintained by others. The National Park Service will provide special trail markers and add it to their web site. The main thing is that the designation provides additional credibility to those who are trying to get grants for Turkey Mountain.
Kudos to the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition who led the effort behind the scenes to get the designation. UWC is quite an organization. They started last year in response to a tone deaf effort by the City of Tulsa and Simon Properties to build a cheesy outlet mall on Turkey Mountain. Thanks to the efforts of TUWC and other organizations, the community rose up in opposition and Simon is proceeding on building the mall at a more appropriate location. I was amazed, do you know how many times Oklahoman’s are successful in opposing bad development ideas? Very few times is the answer.
So this is great news but the preservation of Turkey Mountain is still a process more than event. Steps are continuing to be made by both private and public entities. The citizens of Tulsa passed a bond issue to provide funds for the purchase of the proposed Simon Malls site. After the close on that purchase, the River Parks Authority, who administer the land, installed new cable and post fencing to keep vehicles off that property. The vehicles were tearing the trails up and some of our fellow citizens were dumping their trash.
So we have recognition from the Feds which helps but Turkey Mountain still needs lots of support from the community.
Read the Tulsa World Article on the designation
Download a map and check the trails for yourself.
Check out the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition, get involved.